The interchangeable-lens camera has been an ever shrinking device from full-frame monsters, APS-C sensors to the miniature Micro Four Thirds (MFT) system cameras. Now, Olympus is introducing its smallest camera yet: the Olympus Air.
The new pocket shooter is a lens camera much in the same spirit as the Sony QX1($399, £250, about AU$520) in that they both rely almost entirely on a smartphone to operate.
It comes outfitted with a 16 megapixel, MFT sensor and a lens mount that will work readily with both Olympus and Panasonic glass. As for the camera screen, you’ll have to supply that on your own with an iOS or Android smartphone.
On top of using your phone to see your photos, an accompanying Olympus Air app will turn your smartphone into a central hub for everything from composing your shot to editing and ultimately sharing images.
The Olympus Air comes with a mount for your smartphone to make it one whole, albeit makeshift, camera. Unlike the Sony QX1, the mount does not hold mobile devices flush with the back of the lens camera. Instead, the Air grips smartphones at an angle, making it easier to take photos from overhead or below eye level.
If you’ve seen Olympus’s earlier Open Platform camera, then the Air should look somewhat familiar. Since the camera company initially announced its plans to build a new camera platform, the Air has seen some significant refinements. For starters, rather than looking like an oversized and boxy GoPro, the new Air is a perfect cylinder.
It’s also incredibly small, making it perfectly pocketable. Measuring in at 57.1 x 57.1 x 43.6mm (W x D x H) it’s compact even compared to the larger 74 x 69.5 x 52.5mm (W x D x H) Sony QX1. In fact, the lens camera is just about the same size as the Olympus 17mm, f1.8 lens.
Priced at $299 (about £190, AU$390), the Olympus Air is just a bit less expensive than the Sony QX1. The Olympus Air will begin shipping stateside this July.